Webster defines it like this:
snow·mo·bile 1. a motor vehicle with a revolving tread in the rear and d steerable skis in the front, for traveling over snow.
But we know that there are many other names out there in use, especially regionally.
So, tell us, what do you call your snowmobile?
The first attempts at building a vehicle that would move over snow on runners happened over 70 years ago. Many dreamed of building a power-driven sled, especially where heavy snowfalls often meant the difference between life and death when attempting to transport an ill person to emergency care.
In 1935, a snowmobile was built with skis in front and a sprocket wheel and tracked system in back. It carried 12 people, and family doctors, veterinarians, ambulance and taxi drivers were first in line to purchase one. A modified version found a market in the logging industry.
It was the late 1950s, with the development of smaller gasoline engines, before the one- or
two-passenger lightweight chassis snowmobile was marketed – and with it, a new recreational activity was born.
Ten years later, there were dozens of manufacturers producing snowmobiles that sold for a few hundred dollars a piece.
Today, with more than 4 million riders, snowmobiling is a major winter recreational activity and a significant factor in increased winter tourism in much of Canada and the snowbelt of the United States.
(Info courtesy of http://www.snowmobile.org)
International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) has announced that in the United States for 2011, there were 1,550,158 registered snowmobiles. That is an increase of last year’s number of 1,500,000.
Registered snowmobiles in Canada totaled 602,902 compared to last year’s total of 582,134.
Registered snowmobiles in the European community continue to increase and it is now estimated there are 530,000 registered snowmobiles in Europe.
The key determinants of demand were the availability of snow and cold weather, according to ISMA. There has also been a slight change in the population segment purchasing snowmobiles, with an increase in interest by the Millennial Generation (Generation Y) who are between 19-35 years of age. There are more than 80 million “Generation Y” residents in the United States – equaling the Baby Boomer Generation in numbers.
The snowmobile manufacturers have announced the 2010-2011 sales results.
Worldwide Sales: The worldwide snowmobile sales increased 10% to 123,063 new snowmobiles sold in North America, Europe, and Russia.
The sales breakdown is:
- US Sales: New snowmobile sales in the United States showed a 5% increase with 51,796 snowmobiles being sold. The average price of a new snowmobile was $8,397, showing a slight decrease in price due to continuing efforts by the manufacturers to achieve economies of scale and provide quality products at the best possible price.
- Canadian Sales: New snowmobile sales in Canada also showed an increase of approximately 8% to 40.878 new units sold. The average price of a new snowmobile in Canada was $9,361 per unit, a slight decrease in price from the previous year.
- Europe and Russia Sales: New snowmobiles sold in Europe and Russia showed an increase of 20% to 30,389 new units sold.
- Parts, Garments and Accessories sales: PG&A sales for the manufacturers in North America were up approximately 7%.
Here’s a fun picture of a “classic” snowmobile — enjoy!